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Jonathan Antoni Gittens (22 January 1964 – 10 May 2019)[1] was an English professional footballer who played for Swindon Town as well as for Southampton, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Torquay United and Exeter City.

Jon Gittens
Personal information
Full name Jonathan Antoni Gittens
Date of birth (1964-01-22)22 January 1964
Place of birth Moseley, England
Date of death 10 May 2019(2019-05-10) (aged 55)
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Centre back
Youth career
Paget Rangers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1987 Southampton 18 (0)
1987–1991 Swindon Town 126 (6)
1991–1992 Southampton 19 (0)
1992Middlesbrough (loan) 12 (1)
1992–1993 Middlesbrough 13 (0)
1993–1996 Portsmouth 99 (2)
1996–1998 Torquay United 78 (9)
1998–2000 Exeter City 82 (4)
2000–2001 Nuneaton Borough
2001Dorchester Town (loan)
Teams managed
2002–2004 Fareham Town
2007–2010 Blackfield & Langley
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Playing careerEdit


Born in Moseley, Gittens started his career with Midlands Combination side Paget Rangers whilst taking a two-year course in menswear tailoring when he was spotted by Southampton.[2]

Gittens joined the Saints in October 1985 for a fee of £10,000. At the time of his signing he was raw but had pace and was considered one for the future.[3] He made his league debut in a 2–0 victory at Birmingham City on 19 April 1986 and retained his place for the next three games.[4] In the following season he was in and out of the team, making 14 appearances, usually as a replacement for Mark Wright or Kevin Bond.[5]

In July 1987 he became a free agent and, having found it difficult to hold down a regular place in the Southampton side, he moved to Swindon Town for a fee of £40,000. The fee was fixed by tribunal, the first Saints had been involved in as a selling side.[3]

Swindon TownEdit

Gittens was a strong player in the centre of Swindon's defence, and formed a great partnership with Colin Calderwood. He had a tendency to be rough at times, and was always likely to be booked[6] (but was only sent off twice). His two red cards came in a 4–0 defeat at Leeds United on 23 September 1989[7] and a year later in a 5–1 defeat at Barnsley.[8]

During his four seasons with Swindon, the club reached the play-offs twice (in 1988–89 and again in 1989–90), but failed to gain promotion to the First Division. Swindon Town won the Second Division playoff final in 1989–90[9] but Sunderland were promoted instead after the Swindon board admitted a series of financial irregularities.[10]

In March 1991, after 126 games for the Robins, Chris Nicholl re-signed him for Southampton, and he returned to The Dell a day before the transfer deadline, this time for a fee of £400,000.[2]

Return to SouthamptonEdit

Although he played in the final eight games of the 1990–91 season, replacing the injured Kevin Moore alongside Neil Ruddock,[11] the following season, under new manager Ian Branfoot, he only made eleven appearances, generally as cover for Richard Hall.[12]

Having again failed to establish himself at The Dell, he joined promotion chasing Middlesbrough on loan in February 1992.


With promotion to the new Premiership duly achieved he made the permanent move to Middlesbrough in July that summer for a fee of £350,000.[3] As Middlesbrough struggled at the foot of the table, Gittens lost his place, and left on a free transfer in August the following year, joining Portsmouth.


At Portsmouth, he was a near regular throughout the 1993–94 and 1994–95 seasons but following the sacking of Jim Smith in 1995 his appearances were limited under new manager Terry Fenwick. Gittens was one of two Pompey players sent off in January 1995's 1–0 FA Cup 4th round defeat at Fratton Park against Leicester City. In appalling conditions referee Dermot Gallagher firstly sent off both Gittens and goalkeeper Alan Knight.[13]

The 1995–96 season saw his chances limited to just fifteen appearances, the last of these coming in January 1996 as the club crashed out of the FA Cup 3–0 against Gitten's former club, local rivals Southampton.[14]

Torquay UnitedEdit

In August 1996, after a total of 99 games for Pompey[13] he joined Torquay United on a free transfer, one of Kevin Hodges' first signings. Despite achieving national attention by allegedly punching West Ham United's Romanian international Florin Răducioiu in a friendly later that month[13] (his first game for the Gulls) he settled in well at Plainmoor in terms of first-team football. However travelling in from Dorchester was causing him problems and on 24 March 1997, after falling out with the management team, he was released on full pay until the end of the season. He returned the following season and finished it as the club's player of the year with an appearance at Wembley in the playoff final defeat at the hands of Colchester United, Gittens giving away a harshly awarded penalty.[13]

Exeter CityEdit

He moved to local rivals Exeter City in July 1998 on a free transfer, having previously been linked with a move to Swansea City as player-coach. He played 82 times for the Grecians, but was released at the end of the 1999–2000 season as part of Noel Blake's mass clearout, joining Conference side Nuneaton Borough on 6 August 2000.[15] He had an unsuccessful time with Nuneaton, joining Dorchester Town on a three-month loan deal in January 2001.

Coaching and management careerEdit

Gittens joined the coaching staff at Fareham Town in December 2001 and was appointed as manager in June 2002.[16] Whilst manager at Fareham, he was charged with misconduct for using "foul" language against a referee's assistant on Easter Monday 2004. Gittens was sent to the stands for calling the assistant a "chicken nugget".[13]

Following a disagreement with the Club, notably over their decision to scrap the reserve team,[17] Gittens resigned in late July 2004.[18]

After leaving Fareham he Managed and coached the successful Solent University side Team Solent in the Southampton League. In May 2007, he was named as the manager of Wessex League Division 1 team, Blackfield & Langley. They clinched promotion in April 2009 to the Wessex Senior League. His position as manager was terminated in late August 2010.[19]

Gittens was a UEFA "A" licensed coach who worked part-time as Coach Educator whilst studying at Bournemouth University.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Pompey Mourn Jon Gittens". Portsmouth F.C. 11 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. pp. 141–142. ISBN 0-9514862-3-3.
  3. ^ a b c Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. pp. 517–518. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
  4. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. pp. 189–190.
  5. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 196.
  6. ^ "Jon Gittens player profile". Swindon Town F.C. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Leeds United 4 Swindon Town 0". Swindon Town F.C. 23 September 1989. Retrieved 1 April 2009.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Barnsley 5 Swindon Town 1". Swindon Town F.C. 27 October 1990. Retrieved 1 April 2009.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Sunderland 0 Swindon Town 1". Swindon Town F.C. 28 May 1990. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  10. ^ "Swindon Town season archive: The 1990s". Swindon Town F.C. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  11. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 219.
  12. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 223.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Portsmouth FC Players – Jon Gittens". Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  14. ^ Juson, Dave; & others (2004). Saints v Pompey – A history of unrelenting rivalry. Hagiology Publishing. pp. 204–206. ISBN 0-9534474-5-6.
  15. ^ "Gittens joins Nuneaton Borough". 9 August 2000. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
  16. ^ "Gittens appointed as Fareham's new boss". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
  17. ^ "Has Gittens walked out on Town?". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
  18. ^ "Gittens confirms split". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
  19. ^ Kajumba, Adrian (29 August 2010). "Blackfield part company with ex-Saint Gittens". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 6 September 2010.

External linksEdit